Jim Simons MP
A quote from a book ‘Soap Box Evangelist’
A few weeks ago I found this book which was inherited from my father Cliff Willetts. The quotation says something about TGRS in the early 1950’s from a total outsider.
“My wife and I preached in the Nonconformist Chapels finding much of the old primitive Methodist fervour that the more sedate Wesleyanism had failed to subdue; there was a warm-hearted spontaneity that released a few ‘Hallelujahs’ and inspired the repeat of hymn choruses”.
On one occasion, just before a general election, I was invited to preach at a special ‘men’s service’ in a Methodist church just outside my constituency. The Mayor resplendent in his chain of office was sitting beside me. As I rose to pronounce the benediction he held out a restraining hand, rose and began to address the congregation himself. ‘There was a call from Macedonia thundered. But, in this case for Macedonia read Brierley Hill where our preacher is the parliamentary candidate, go over and help him’.
There followed ten minutes of stories about Jim Simons in the Bull Ring, closing his speech with ‘These things shall be;’ Jim Preaching at the Ragged School, etc., etc.
Eventually I pronounced the Benediction and went to the vestry in fear and trembling, wandering what effect this would have on the Society Stewards. I needn’t have worried; they had their diaries out ready to pencil in the date of my next visit.
This quote is taken from ‘Soap Box Evangelist’ by Jim Simons; ‘Of course I never preach party politics from the pulpit. I relate social problems to the Christian gospel and make my Christian witness as I believe it is the duty of all public men, who accept the Christian faith, to do’.